Submitted by Benjamin Delikat, Program Director for Peer Health Exchange NYC
I am an alum of Fordham University at Rose Hill, and am very grateful for the education I received and the friends I made while I attended undergraduate studies there. One incredibly important part of my college experience was volunteering with the Fordham Peer Health Exchange chapter, and getting off-campus to engage with young people in the community in a meaningful way.
I am always excited to hear about ways my alma mater is supporting the agency of young people in the Bronx and in New York City. So I was thrilled when Britta Seifert, Program Manager for the PHE chapter at Fordham, pitched the idea of joining the Verizon Summer program as a client.
This program was fantastic for a few reasons – it brought high school students together from New York and surrounding cities to Fordham’s Campus to get the experience of living and studying in a college setting. From coding to communications to business plans, high schoolers learned about entrepreneurship while helping a local business. The program exposed them to new ideas, trained them in valuable new skills, and provided them with individualized attention and support from industry experts and college professors. Additionally, this program offered the opportunity for participating students to get “real world” experience communicating with and solving tech issues for clients like Peer Health Exchange. Over the course of the program, the students paired with PHE helped us to identify the technical needs and limitations to develop an app for our staff to consistently and accurately evaluate the quality of our volunteers in the classroom.
I was consistently impressed (though not surprised) by the curiosity, professionalism, and dedication of the high school students who developed this useful tool. You can learn more about the program and Kiana Jackson, a member of the student group we worked with, below.